Morning CheckUp: March 29, 2012

Judicial activists in the Supreme Court: “Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health-care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.” [E.J. Dionne]

Lawmakers wary after SCOTUS arguments: “Senate healthcare leaders from both parties are reacting cautiously to the direction of arguments at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the 2010 federal healthcare law.” [Modern Healthcare]

Bipartisan group offers alternative to GOP budget: “A bipartisan budget plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years with a mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts across the federal budget is headed for a House vote, but it is likely to be rejected by Republicans against higher hikes and Democrats opposed to curbs on Medicare and Social Security benefits.” [AP]

The folly of free market health reform: “The purpose of the Supreme Court hearings on President Obama’s health reform law is to determine whether a key provision, the individual mandate, is constitutional. But the case may end up demonstrating something else: That there is no “free market” solution that will extend coverage to millions of uninsured people and get skyrocketing costs under control.” [U.S. News]

Effort to pay hospitals based on quality didn’t cut rates: “Medicare’s largest effort to pay hospitals based on how they perform — an inspiration for key parts of the health care law — did not lead to fewer deaths, a new study has found.” [Kaiser Health News]